Jenny thought she would be safe in the small town of Four Corners, well safe for a month at least. This time Jenny was going to evade capture by posing as a man. She would put some grungy clothes on, pin her hair up in a hat, and smear a little dirt on her face. Jenny was sure it would work.
Ezra and the other six were in the saloon when they saw the stranger ride up.
"Who do you think that is," J.D asked.
"Now how would we know that J.D," Chris answered, and gave J.D a funny look.
"Could be trouble," Josiah said solemnly, "I think I will turn in for the night."
They all said goodnight as Josiah walked out and the stranger walked in. Ezra sat quietly shuffling his cards staring at the man who made no eye contact with anyone.
"Might I interest you in a game of poker," asked Ezra.
Jenny's blood ran cold. What was she supposed to say to this man who asked her to play poker. She panicked and ran out of the saloon. The six stared in surprise.
Ezra leaned back against the chair, "What did I say," he asked, puzzled.
Nathan answered him, "Maybe he knows you by your reputation."
Ezra thought about it. "Well I am turning in too," Ezra said quietly, standing to leave.
Over the next week Ezra watched the stranger, or Mr. Stuart. He had gotten his name from the clerk at the inn. Ezra noticed some strange things about this man. He never talked to anyone and seemed very cautious. Other things surprised Ezra about Mr. Stuart, like the way he moved and walked. Ezra had never seen a man walk in such a lady-like way. It worried him that he was noticing things like that.
For the past week Jenny had been as cautious as she could. She felt everyone staring at her when she was in public. Jenny was especially curious about the man who had asked her to play poker. She feared she was developing a certain likeness for him. Which was certainly reasonable, she thought. He was handsome and young, maybe a few years older than herself. Jenny had seen him a few times, but restrained herself from saying anything.
Chris was standing in front of the general store talking to Mary when a big man rode up to them on a horse.
"My name is Matthew Lave, and I am looking for a woman. I have come to get the bounty on her head," Lave said.
"We haven't seen anyone like that," Chris said, handing the wanted poster back to him.
Lave jumped off his horse and grabbed Mary roughly.
"You look a hell of a lot like Miss Stuart," he said.
Chris whipped out his gun and aimed it at Lave's head. "Let the lady go, she ain't the one you're looking for," Chris said and he grabbed Mary and pulled her behind him. "Now get out of town and don't come back," Chris hissed.
The man got back on his horse and shot them a look of pure hatred and said looking at Mary, "See you later."
Chris cocked the gun and said in a low voice, "No, you won't." Then fired a single shot up into the air. Lave sped off towards the horizon.
Ezra and the others heard the shot and ran out of the saloon. Chris was walking towards them with a grim look on his face.
"What happened," asked J.D breathlessly.
"We have a bounty hunter in town," Chris replied, looking at the worried look on Vin's face.
"Don't worry Vin," Chris said, "He is looking for a 'Miss Stuart'. Apparently she looks somewhat like Mary, and the son-of-a-bitch tried to rough her up."
"Is she ok," Buck asked.
"A little shaken, but fine," Chris said, still pissed.
" 'Miss Stuart'," Ezra asked.
"That's what he said," Chris replied.
"There's a 'Mr. Stuart' in town, that's the stranger that rode in Sunday night," Ezra said, unsure of what to make of it all.
"I'll check it out in the morning," J.D said.
"We will," corrected Ezra.
Jenny woke up in the morning and went to untie her horse so she could run him. When all of the sudden she heard a gun cock behind her back. Not thinking she tackled the person. The gun accidentally went off, causing a shot to break the silence of the still morning air.
The seven, in the jailhouse, talking to J.D, heard the shot and ran out to see what happened. Ezra was first to see outside. He saw Mr. Stuart riding down the street heading his way with a man shouting and firing his gun like crazy behind him. Suddenly Mr. Stuart's hat blew off revealing long golden hair. Ezra gasped, it was a woman, his suspicions were true. Before Ezra knew what he was doing, he was climbing onto his riding after them. He could hear the others he left behind shouting for him to come back, but Ezra ignored them.
Jenny looked back and gasped, she saw the man she liked was riding after Lave and her.
Ezra knew he was falling behind and couldn't catch up without pushing Chaucer too hard so he stopped. He heard the beat of horses' hooves running up to him from behind. It was Chris.
"What the hell happened back there," Chris asked, annoyed.
Shouting back, Ezra yelled," I don't know!"
They silently rode back to town. J.D came running up to them. "The lady's real name is Jenny Stuart. She wanted for murder," J.D warned.
Later in the saloon Ezra sat silently and worried about Jenny. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He didn't know her, yet he was strangely drawn to her.
"I don't think she did it," Ezra suddenly blurted out, surprising himself and the others.
Just then Mary Travis came running into the saloon. "Chris, you had better come quick," Mary said in a worried voice.
As Chris and the others got up, he thought that if Lave had come back for Mary, he would kill him.
Ezra ran out into the street and saw Lave with Jenny. She was standing on a bucket with a rope around her neck that was hung over the general store sign.
Jenny screamed, she feared for her life. She saw the man she liked and screamed, "I didn't kill anyone, you have to believe me. I know who the real killer is, its..."
Before Jenny could finish Lave shoved the butt of his shotgun into her stomach. Ezra couldn't take it any more, he grabbed his gun and pointed it at Lave.
"Hurt her again, and I will make sure your never have the chance to even think about hurt anyone ever again," Ezra yelled.
Jenny was amazed, a man she didn't even know was trying to save her life. All of the sudden Lave kicked the bucket out from beneath Jenny.
Chris has saw it all and shot the rope, busting it. Jenny fell and hit the ground with a thud. Lave jumped onto his horse and sped off with five gunslingers shooting at his back.
Ezra ran to Jenny and scooped her up. She was unconscious. He carried her into Nathan's clinic and gently laid her on the table.
"Get a washcloth and some cool water," instructed Nathan.
Mary got the items, then she and Nathan went outside, leaving Jenny in the care of Ezra.
"Is she going to be ok," J.D asked, worried.
"She will be fine. She just got bumped on the head kinda hard, and Ezra is taking care of her," Nathan answered.
Jenny slowly opened her eyes and tried to focus on the figure leaning over her. It was Ezra. He was carefully dabbing her face with a cool cloth.
"What happened," asked Jenny, confused.
"The bounty hunter almost killed you," Ezra replied, worried.
Jenny just moaned.
"I know your mad at the Lave guy, but please don't try to go after him, we will. We know you didn't kill a man either," Ezra said quietly.
"Ezra," Jenny said slowly, "I know this is rather forward, but I think I like you."
Ezra was amazed, "I think I feel the same way," Ezra replied, a slow grin slipping onto his face.
"Ezra...," Jenny started but was stopped with a kiss from Ezra.
Jenny smiled at Ezra and yawned.
"I think I will leave you to get some sleep," Ezra said, his voice suddenly full of shyness.
"Please stay close," Jenny asked.
"I will," Ezra promised.
With that he walked out, leaving Jenny with her thoughts.
"How is she," Chris asked.
"She is conscious, but asleep," Ezra answered.
Jenny crawled out of bed and found a pencil and some paper, she wrote:
I am sorry, but I have to do this alone. Thank you and your friends for saving my life. I will be forever in debt. I will try to come back... if I am still alive.
With that Jenny went out the back door and rode off to find Lave.
Later that evening, Ezra went to check on Jenny. He knocked on the door a few times, and got no answer. Ezra peeked in through the window and didn't see anyone lying in the bed. A panic started to rise in his body. Ezra kicked the door in and found the note. It was all he needed, he bolted out the door, jumped onto his horse, and speed off.
Jenny was 15 miles out of town when she decided to give her horse a break. She found a small stream and went to get a drink.
"Well, well, well, look what I came across," hissed Lave.
"Please don't hurt me," Jenny said, startled. She never got to say another word, Lave stabbed her in the abdomen with his knife. The last thing Jenny saw was Lave's smiling face.
Ezra's horse was trotting down the trail when he spotted a figure lying in the road. He jumped off his horse and turned the person over. Ezra gasped, it was Jenny. Since she was wearing black, he couldn't see any blood. So he patted her down quickly, finding blood coming from her stomach. He didn't want to because she was a lady, but he gently lifted Jenny shirt so he could examine the wound. He looked at her smooth, flat stomach. Jenny was perfect, she had long blond hair, blue eyes you could get lost in, and a very nice figure. He realized he was staring and quickly put her shirt back down. Getting up into the saddle of his horse with Jenny, he headed as quickly as possible back to Four Corners.
Chris didn't know where Ezra was until he found the note. Ezra had run off looking for Jenny. He became uneasy.
"Vin, gather the others, Ezra and Miss Stuart are in trouble," Chris shouted the orders.
Ezra was just entering the town when he saw his friends riding toward him.
"You have to help her Nathan," Ezra pleaded, " She has been stabbed and she lost a lot of blood."
They took her to the clinic. Nathan told Ezra he couldn't stay. He walked with his friends to the saloon. Ezra couldn't drink though, he paced back and forth across the floor. He was so worried about Jenny he could barely breathe.
"You act like your waitin' on a baby pacin' the floor like that," J.D commented.
"Shut up J.D," Ezra snapped, immediately regretting it. "I am sorry, I'm just worried."
"Hey no problem, I know Jenny will be ok," J.D assured him.
Nathan walked in and Ezra rushed up to him.
"Is she ok," Ezra asked.
"She will be fine. The knife missed everything and didn't go in too deep," Nathan answered.
"Can I see her," asked Ezra.
"She might be asleep but go ahead," Nathan said.
Ezra left the others and headed down the street to the clinic. He swore to himself that if Lave came back he would kill him. Ezra knocked lightly on the door and waited a few seconds before entering.
"How are you Jenny," Ezra asked slowly.
"In pain, but better," replied Jenny.
"Listen Jenny..." Ezra started saying.
"I am so sorry Ezra. I didn't think I would worry you so much," Jenny cut him off, crying.
Ezra walked over to Jenny and gathered her into his arms. He gently rocked and comforted her.
"Shhh, its ok, I am just glad you are ok," Ezra whispered.
Jenny fell asleep in Ezra's arms. He got up and left to his room at the boarding house, and thought about Jenny. The more time he spent with her the more he was growing to like her.
She would have to go after Lave, or she would be running for the rest of her life. Jenny got up and went out the front door since no one would be out at midnight, or so she thought. Just as Jenny got on her horse she saw Nathan walk into the clinic to check on her. She pulled out her gun and fired a single shot into the air. Jenny thought she could make him think someone dangerous was out there and frighten him into staying in the clinic. Jenny dug her heels into her horse and sped off.
Ezra bolted up from bed and ran outside. He heard other doors slamming, signaling Chris and the others had heard the shot to. Ezra was worried that Lave had come back for Jenny. He ran into the street and found Nathan looking toward the far edge of town.
"Where's Jenny," Ezra asked.
"She is gone," was all Nathan said.
"Damnit, tell me where," Ezra shouted.
By now the others were already standing in the street watching Ezra holler. He started climbing onto his horse, when he felt a hand on his back, it was Chris.
"Don't worry Ezra, we'll get her back," Chris said calmly.
Ezra believed Chris, but he wanted to leave now. He felt so guilty, how could he be sleeping when Jenny needed protection.
"Its my fault," Said Ezra quietly.
"No its not," Nathan said gently.
"At sunup we will go look for her, we can't look at night," Vin said.
Chris made sure Ezra went back to his room before he went to his own. He felt sorry for Ezra. He knew Ezra was feeling something strong for the lady, maybe even too strong for an unmarried couple. Chris wasn't worried about it though, he knew Ezra was sincere, which was surprising.
Ezra couldn't go to sleep, he didn't expect to though. Ezra thought about all the women he had 'loved'. When he thought of Jenny, he felt funny. Ezra thought his heart would explode when he first saw her. He felt he would never love again if Jenny died. By the time Ezra knew, the first rays of sunlight were creeping across the land. Ezra ran downstairs, and found the other six waiting for him.
"We're going now," Ezra ordered.
They all got on their horses and let Vin lead. Ezra trusted Vin when it came to tracking people down. After a half and hour, they came across a big rock and heard muffled noises coming from behind it. Ezra jumped off his horse and started running towards the rock. Chris jumped off Valor and stopped him.
"Just wait," Chris ordered.
"What if its Jenny," Ezra asked, meanly.
They and the others crept up behind the rock and peeked over. The sight Ezra saw made him want to kill Lave over and over again in a slow painful manner. He saw Jenny tied to a tree and she was bleeding. Lave had either stabbed her again in the stomach or broke open the stitches.
"Well Jenny Stuart," Lave said cruelly, "We are all alone. Looks like I get to finish the job, and your going to die a murderer."
Jenny had gotten the gag out of her mouth and shouted, "How could you! You killed that man out of cold blood, you monster!"
"Shut your damn mouth," Lave screamed, "No one knows and you're the only witness!"
Ezra flinched at Lave's cruel laughter. He could barely stand it anymore. Ezra watched in horror as Lave pulled out his gun and aim it at her. Ezra jumped in front of Jenny just in time to keep the bullet that tore through him from hitting her.
"Ezra, no," Jenny screamed, trying hard to wiggle out of the ropes. With success she ran over to Ezra and cradled his head in her arms. Lave came up from behind Jenny and shoved the barrel of the gun against her head.
Ezra saw Lave, the gun, and Jenny. With the last of his strength, he reached for his gun, aimed, and shot Lave in the heart. Ezra collapsed. He could feel Jenny's tears landing on his face and rolling down it. Chris and the others ran up to her and Ezra. The last thing he heard was Jenny saying his name in between sobs.
Ezra opened his eyes and saw Jenny and the others standing around him.
"You are one lucky kid," Nathan commented, "The bullet missed your organs and went in cleanly and came right out the back."
"How's Jenny," Ezra managed to croak out.
Jenny let out a small giggle, "Ezra, you just got shot for me and you are asking how I am?"
"I thought he hurt you," Ezra said simply.
"I'm fine," Jenny answered, turning serious.
Later after everyone left, Chris asked Ezra, "Why did you do that?"
Ezra sighed, "Love."
Weeks had passed since Lave had came to town. Ezra and Jenny were walking hand in hand to the annual town picnic.
"Jenny, are you staying in Four Corners," Ezra inquired curiously.
Jenny looked at Ezra lovingly, "Yes, I think I'll be staying here for a while."
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